In this Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019, photo a construction crew works on an already sold new home in north Dallas. On Tuesday, March 5, the Commerce Department reports on sales of new homes in December. AP Photo/LM Otero)

US new-home sales rose 3.7 percent in December

March 05, 2019 - 9:09 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sales of new U.S. homes climbed in December to their highest pace in seven months, a sign that lower mortgage rates are helping the real estate market.

The Commerce Department says that new-home sales rose 3.7 percent in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 621,000. November's sales were revised down to 599,000 from an annual rate of 657,000.

For all of 2018, new-home sales rose 1.5 percent. Purchases began to dip in June as higher mortgage rates worsened affordability, but mortgage rates have fallen since peaking in early November and that appears to be supporting a sales rebound.

Price growth has stalled as sales sipped last year. The median sales price of a new home in December was $318,600, a 7.2 percent drop from a year ago.

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